This month the SCPN has invited regular SCPN newsletter contributors to tell us about what they have been reading on cancer prevention during 2015. We asked for one paper they thought valuable to share. Professor Linda Bauld, University of Stirling, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and Cancer Research UK sent us this paper.

Title: Real‐world effectiveness of e‐cigarettes when used to aid smoking cessation: a cross‐sectional population study.

Authors: Brown J, Beard E, Kotz D, Michie S, & West R.


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Why is this paper important?

This paper provided the first ‘real world’ evidence of the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. As these devices are so varied and developing so rapidly, RCTs are difficult to conduct and quickly become out of date. This paper asked smokers what they were using to quit and compared licensed stop smoking medications and services with e-cigarettes in England. The authors found that smokers who used e-cigarettes were 60% more likely to stop smoking than those who used willpower alone or purchased Nicotine Replacement Therapy over the counter, but that ecigs were not as effective as NRT on prescription or behavioural support plus medication as delivered by NHS smoking cessation services. It also reminded us that ecigs are more widely used than any other stop smoking aid.

Main take home messages

This paper provides practical information on the relative benefits of different approaches and useful information for smoking cessation, a key pillar of cancer prevention.